Big Chill Adventure Race at Fort Parker State Park
The challenging fun of adventure races came to Fort Parker State Park with the 14th annual Big Chill Race, held at the Park on Saturday, Jan. 20. Too Cool Racing, an Austin-based sports organization, sponsored and conducted the event. With about 70 participants, the race took up most of the day and allowed competitors to interact with several historic sites including Old Fort Parker and the Confederate Reunion Grounds that were marked with several checkpoints for the race. This was the first year Too Cool held the Big Chill at Fort Parker State Park, as the past 13 annual races had been held in and around Bastrop.
“Fort Parker State Parker is a great location! We love all the history, we love being able to use the Fort and Confederate Grounds,” said Art Cook, who founded Too Cool Racing in 2005. “The trails are nice and relatively easy to hike or bike for our beginner participants. All that said, we will probably try to skip a year between races here because we like to have new sites and experiences for our participants and we used pretty much everything in the park this year.”
For those unfamiliar with Adventure racing, each race is broken into three parts: bicycling, trekking or running, and paddling. There are two versions of the race so that people of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. The Sports Sprint Race consists of 1-2 miles of paddling, 8-12 miles of biking and 4-6 miles of trail running plus some surprises. The Adventure Sprint Race is made up of approximately 4-6 miles of paddling, 15-25 miles of biking and 6-10 miles of trekking, plus special challenges.
“This is the first time we've done the Big Chill here, but we've done other races here a couple of times in the past,” Cook said. “I think we did one here two years ago and one about five years ago.”
The winning team for the Sports Sprint Race, Johnny 5 is Alive, was a 3 member team from the Houston area. The team, made up of Kellen Gunderson, Steve Williams, and Nathan Gorrell, finished the race in just over 3 hours, and their version of the race consisted of about 13 miles of biking, 5 miles of running and a mile of paddling. The group shared a laugh about an awkward moment in their race.
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